2012 NFL Draft: SEC Lands Draft-High 9 First-Round Picks

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterApril 27, 2012

Former LSU DB Morris Claiborne
Former LSU DB Morris ClaiborneAl Bello/Getty Images

If the six consecutive national championships weren't enough proof of just how good the SEC has become over the last few years, the first round of the 2012 NFL draft should have provided enough evidence to clinch the case.

A draft-high nine players from the SEC were selected in the first round of the 2012 draft, including four players in the top 10. Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne, Mark Barron, Stephon Gilmore, Fletcher Cox, Michael Brockers, Dre Kirkpatrick, Melvin Ingram and Dont'a Hightower were all selected Thursday night.

It is the sixth consecutive season that the SEC has had more than one player taken in the first seven picks and the 10th time in the last 15 years that an SEC player has been selected in the top three.

What is the foundation of the conference? Defense, of course.

That was proven Thursday night in New York City.

Eight of the nine players selected in Thursday's first round were on the defensive side of the ball, headlined by former LSU defensive back Morris Claiborne, who was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the No. 6 pick.

Alabama, LSU and South Carolina finished as the top three defenses in the nation in 2012, and those three teams combined to put seven defensive players in the first round of Thursday's draft.

The SEC had eight of the first 18 picks. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that is the most any conference has had in the first 18 picks in the history of the NFL draft.

This comes on the heels of the 2011 NFL draft, which saw 10 SEC players go in the first round and a total of 38 for the entire draft.

SEC dominance isn't only measured in titles. It's also measured in the NFL draft.

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